GPS - where is the line?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
On the radio today, there was a story about Sprint refusing to release the location of a GPS phone which would have helped find the location of a child which was mistakenly taken when a thief stole a SUV in Riverside. Sprint has a procedure to allow law enforcement to obtain the information, but apparently this did not take place. In response, Riverside politicians threatened to now allow Sprint to put up any more Cell Phone towers.

Are you kidding me? First off, I'm not entirely sure Sprint did the wrong thing. While I can sympathize in this particular case, the life of a child was at stake, there is no way that Sprint cna just release the position of one of its phone for whatever reason. But T, how can you be so heartless? The life of the child was at stake!

Think About It. What happens the first time a person calls screaming that their child is missing and in fact the phone is on the person of their ex-girlfriend who they are now stalking? She is trying to hide from him, but he clevely concocts a story and bam, he finds her and kills her. Maybe this example is a little extreme but the point remains, you can't just be giving out the position of these phones without proper clearance from law enforcement.

I mean really, clearly this is a stunt by the idiot politicians of Riverside to win a few brownie points with their constituents. Their threat of not allowing any cell phone towers is hardly a stiff penalty considering that Sprint probably has coverage throughout most of Riverside already.


Kat said...

was there an amber alert out? i think as soon as law enforcement is involved, sprint should be required by law to release the information.

susan said...

First, the cellphone belonged to the carowner so there shouldn't have been any problem at all. I think some Sprint employee had just watched too many Law and Order episodes. It looks like Sprint is reviewing their procedures and would normally cooperate but needs to train the staff to know how to respond.

T said...

My understanding of the story is this. A woman left her SUV running with the baby and phone in it. About 10 minutes after the car was stolen, she remembered about the phone and called Sprint to get the position. They told her they could only do it if she filled out a form and paid the $25. She was furious they would charge her for it. Then the police called.

Now this is where i'm unsure of the story. Sprint says a policy is in place where the police can fill out a form and fax it. It should take no more than 5 minutes. I think the operator did not tell the police this and that is where the confusion arose.

But the other thing I don't get is why the women didn't just pay the damn $25. Seriously, your baby is missing. Are you really going to haggle over the $25? Just pay the damn thing and worry about it later. I'm not saying Sprint should have charged her for it, but at that point, do you really care?

susan said...

I completely agree about the $25. I also think Sprint would have been better off just to waive the fee and be heros. They'd get tons of goodwill. Just verify identity, work with the police, etc.